One day in 1963, I believe it was on a Saturday afternoon, Mom asked my brother Gary and me to take her car to Ted Norwood’s service station for an oil change.
Since we both worked for him, part time anyway, this was a good reason to go to town. We took the car in and put it on the rack. There were a few people hanging around as they often did, including Roy Russell, the Superintendent of Schools and a good friend of Ted’s, the Pepsi route man whose first name was Bill and Willard Oller. Oller was a big man and very overbearing but we weren’t particularly scared of him.
In a little while, a tall, lanky man whom I did not know walked through the door of the station. Almost at once, he and Willard began fighting. I was amazed at this sight – two grown men fighting like school children. Ted Norwood told my brother, Gary, to go get Lee White, the local constable, and Gary left in Ted’s pickup truck.
As Willard and the other man fought (I found out later that he was Ted Hix, Willard’s brother-in-law) the fight moved from the office out into the shop bay. Although Ted weighed about half of what Willard weighed, he soon began to get the better of Willard. Willard finally got a chance to escape and took off through the door of the station to his Cadillac, which was parked in the drive. I remember standing there in disbelief watching Willard lean over into his car and come out with a .32 automatic pistol. I thought to myself, “He will never use that thing!” The next thing I knew, Willard came back through the door of the station and, without saying a word, started shooting at Ted. I was standing behind Ted, and Bill, the Pepsi route man, pushed me down underneath Mom’s car. Ted was hit four times, twice in the chest and twice in the leg. In spite of being shot, he chased Willard out the door of the station, took the gun away from him and tried to shoot him. Fortunately for Willard, the gun had jammed. Willard ran up the hill west from the station.
About that time, Gary returned with Lee White, who very calmly walked up the hill and told Willard he was going to have to arrest him. Lee took Willard to Sapulpa and the ambulance took Ted to the hospital. I remember that while Ted waited for the ambulance, he sat down on the curb of the station, unlaced the work boot on the leg, which had been shot, and the boot filled up with blood.
About two hours later, after Gary and I had gone home to relate the story to Mom and Dad, a pickup truck pulled into our driveway. Dad looked out and recognized the two men in it as being employees of Willard Oller. He said, “Well, it looks like we’ve got trouble!” then he got the 12-gauge shotgun off its rack, loaded it and the three of us, Dad, Gary and I went out into the yard. One of the men got out of their truck and said, “We understand that your boys saw what happened at the station today. We just want to talk to them about it.” Dad told them that there was no way we were going to talk to them and with a shotgun pointed at them, they decided not to argue the point. They got into their pickup and drove off.
Later that evening, I was back at Ted’s station and Willard Oller came back in! He had made bail and bragged that he beat Lee White back to Mannford from Sapulpa. In his usual blustery manner, he was chiding me for ducking under a car when the gunfight was going on. I don’t know what he thought I should have been doing!
During the next six months, I was called out of class four times by County deputies to be served subpoenas, twice for the criminal trial and twice for a civil suit filed by Ted Hix against Willard.
Willard pled temporary insanity during his trial and was acquitted. He bragged to us later that he had “bought off’ the jury. Since it was in Creek County, we all believed him.
Ted did win a $38,000 judgment although it is not known if any of it was ever paid.